Experts Weigh in on Tokoto

With the Tar Heels adding wing J.P. Tokoto to their 2012 recruiting class, Inside Carolina talked to several recruiting experts to provide readers with a better understanding of Tokoto's game, fit at UNC and impact on the class.

The Experts: Evan Daniels, National Recruiting Director; Brian Snow, National Recruiting Analyst; Rob Harrington, Editor and contributor

What have been your takeaways from your multiple viewings of Tokoto over the past couple years and what aspects of his game will you be most closely evaluating this spring and summer?

Rob Harrington: Tokoto's most apparent attribute is his athleticism.  He's a gliding athlete who soars for lobs and tip-slams, and he also gets some spectacular blocks.  More than a run/jump athlete, though, he can move the ball around and has the agility to finish in traffic.  Of course, he didn't play well at the NBA Camp last summer and his jump shot was erratic on the circuit, so everyone will be watching to see how much more assertive he is and to what extent he has improved his skill level.

Brian Snow: The obvious thing to take away when watching J.P. is how athletic he is. He is a big time athlete off the wing and a kid capable of being a high level defender and slasher. The question simply is about his ability to score, and how he will do it. The well documented NBA Top 100 camp showed that against high level athletes he can struggle to put points on the board. An improved outside shot is going to be a big thing to watch for as well as consistent drive and energy every time he steps out onto the floor.

Evan Daniels: With Tokoto it all starts with his athleticism and incredible leaping ability.  He's a terrific all around athlete that should turn himself into a pretty good rebounder and defender at the next level.  The knock on the 6-foot-6 wing has always been his jump shot.  But after seeing him in January at the Brandon Jennings Invitational, I have fewer worries about the development of his shot.  He hit five or six mid-range pull-ups in the game I took in and looked much more comfortable shooting the ball.  

How does Tokoto's game fit into the UNC system - what do you foresee his role will be?

Rob Harrington: I think Tokoto will be a very good transition scorer for UNC. He can get out ahead of the pack and should become a reliable finisher even against a rotating defender, especially as he gets stronger. Defensively, he has excellent length and is such a talented straight-up leaper that he should be a solid rebounder as well. I think it's unlikely he'll be a primary weapon in halfcourt offense due to his unproven jump shot, but he does possess good dribble moves and can make plays for himself and others off the bounce.

Brian Snow: I would say that he fits into the system well. Because he lacks that super skill level, he fits best in a system that is up-tempo and allows the wings to get out and go. Right now he is clearly at his best on the break, and that is what North Carolina tries to get out and do. Also Tokoto has the athleticism and body to be a very good man-to-man defender, and that is something he will be asked to do while in Chapel Hill.

Evan Daniels: I think it's clear that Roy Williams likes to play a fast-passed, attacking brand of basketball.  Pushing the tempo and getting out in the open court is perfect for Tokoto and his style of play.  When in transition he's able to use his best attribute – athleticism – and finish at and above the rim.  So from that standpoint, I think it's a perfect hit for him.

Now with commitments from Tokoto and point guard Marcus Paige, what's your early impression of UNC's 2012 class and what's next?

Rob Harrington: However Tokoto and Paige end up getting ranked, both have shown enough to be considered legitimate Carolina-level recruits. I suppose the question is when UNC will land another big man or two, because that's obviously the most pressing need. Still, with or without Muhammad, the two commitments give them a nice mix of skill, athleticism and intelligence. Now they need muscle and likely another wing scorer.

Brian Snow: I really like this class. Both Paige and Tokoto are top 50 guys, and Paige especially is at a position where only a few high level players exist in the class. I am sure that North Carolina would love to add one more high level superstar, elite NBA talent type to the class, but this is a good start for them with two quality players. If North Carolina can put a quality big guy or another wing like Shabazz Muhammad with these two, you are talking about a top five class nationally for sure.

Evan Daniels: This is a heck of a start for North Carolina in the 2012 class.  They needed a quality point guard, and they got one of the better ones in the entire class.  Then they wanted to add an athletic wing prospect.  Now they have that.  Next up is to secure a low post prospect. The 2012 class is loaded with big men so that shouldn't be a tough task for Carolina.  But with all that said, they now have one of the best classes to date in the 2012 group. Already at this stage -- with only two commitments -- I think they have a top five recruiting class, trailing Indiana, Louisville, Duke and Villanova in the rankings.

J.P. Tokoto Profile

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